#gamergate emotional abuse empathy deficit men who should not ever be with women ever misogyny rape rape culture sexual assault sexual exploitation sexual harassment zoe quinn

Gamergaters never believed anything Zoe Quinn said — until Quinn signal-boosted accusations of abuse against a male feminist ex [UPDATED]

You might call them two-faced

UPDATE: Alec Holowka’s sister reports that he has died, apparently of suicide.

By David Futrelle

#MeToo hit the gaming industry hard this week, with an ever-growing number of women and non-binary people coming forward to accuse men in the industry — including some big names — of rape and harassment and other forms of abuse.

One of the accusers is #Gamergate nemesis Zoe Quinn, who three days ago declared that indie game developer Alec Holowka (“Night in the Woods”) had been abusive and manipulative during a brief relationship between the two nearly a decade ago. “I was scared to leave. I was scared to tell anyone,” Quinn wrote in an account posted to Twitter. “I spent a lot of that time hiding in the bathroom from him.”

Several days later, Quinn returned to Twitter to signal-boost the allegations of another game developer who had accused Quinn’s former partner Alex Lifschitz of taking nude photos during sex without consent. Quinn said that they (Quinn’s preferred pronoun) had confronted Lifschitz with this and he had confessed. “[M]y faith in humanity and ability to trust people is severely shaken,” Quinn tweeted. ” I’m disgusted that someone I trusted with my life was capable of this.”

Many lingering #Gamergaters still hate Quinn with the same passion as they did that August five years ago when the ethics harassment campaign began. So how have they reacted to Quinn’s accusations?

Would it shock you if I said they dismissed Quinn’s allegations against Holowka as false accusations from a perpetual liar — but that more than a few were happy to believe the allegations against Lifschitz because they made a male feminist that they already hated look bad.

In the Kotaku in Action subredit — which still bills itself as “the main hub for GamerGate on Reddit” — the regulars were predictably outraged by Quinn’s post on .Holowka, with some accusing her of slandering him in a bid for attention and money.

“With someone like ZQ, you can be almost 100% certain the allegations are false.,” wrote someone called IWantToTalkNow.

to people like ZQ, I’m sure the thoughts are “Yeah! That was abusive. Sure, it was like five years ago and I haven’t really thought on it since, but whatever he’s an abusive fuck. I’ll get some money from interviews, grow my sub count, maybe get some Patreon cash, and a lot of industry people are sympathetic and might offer me some more shit.”

“Gabtactic” had a similar take, throwing an assortment of unsubstantiated accusations of his own into the mix.

Woke Zoe is broke and stole tens of thousands of dollars from a video game kickstarter she stopped updating a year ago. She probably burned it on her luxury vacations in Japan. She’s in deep trouble and badly needs money as fast as possible. I would not be surprised if she started a GoFundMe for “legal fees” that she actually plans on using for something else and this whole story is her new plan to get attention for her e-begging lifestyle. Once a con artist, always a con artist.

The KiAers demanded “due process” for Holowka — which, since there is no such thing when it comes to public accusations that don’t go to trial, is effectively a demand that the public simply assume that every man who isn’t convicted in a court of law is therefore innocent of everything. Never mind that most abusive men never see the inside of a courtroom.

“Dude might be a piece of crap, haven’t really paid attention to him, but due process is a necessity,” wrote multiman000, “as for Quinn, I get the feeling she’s just full of shit.”

“There should be laws about accusing people on social media because there are no fucking fair trials there, ever,” declared CrankyDClown, apparently forgetting that libel laws are a thing.

But days later when Quinn offered support to Lifschitz’ accuser, more than a few of the Kotaki in Action regulars were ready to believe her.

After all, Lifschitz — Quinn’s partner and staunch public defender during the worst of GamerGate, as well of the co-founder (with Quinn) of the anti-cyberbullying organization Crash Override — is nearly as hated as Quinn herself in Gamergate circles, at least insofar as Gamergaters are capable of truly hating men.

“It’s inconvenient for the Narrative that an (alleged) anti harassment organisation was cofounded by a creeper, huh?” gloated someone called B-VOLLYBAL-READY, pointedly putting the “alleged” before “anti harassment organization” rather than “creeper.”

“ALL SJWS ARE RAPISTS!!” shouted Cosmicind89, apparently forgetting that not all SJWs have been found guilty in a court of law.

While many in KiA weren’t quite willing to fully endorse Quinn’s accusations, most were at least willing to accept that she might be telling the truth — with some positively gleeful at the prospect.

“Cartman laugh, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,” snickered chucks47.

Oh, please be true. The “arch male ally” a fucking creeper, oh be still my beating a heart.

Others made jokes about the “due process” their KiA colleagues were declaring so sacred only a few days ago.

“I want to support due process always,” wrote NoPantsBaby.

But I will do so passively. From the sidelines. As these SJW losers fall on their progressive swords.

CrankyDClown, who only three days ago was sniffing that “there should be laws about accusing people on social media” found himself much less interested in “due process” when it came to Lifschitz. “I don’t care much for callout culture,” he wrote in a comment today, “but this one is way too fucking funny to ignore.”

On the anti-gamergate side, I have seen no similar hypocrisy. We (or at least the vast majority of us) believe Quinn on Holowka; we believe Quinn on Lifschitz.

There is a great deal of sadness at the moment as we learn the many troubling details of what has clearly been an epidemic of abuse in the industry.

But we also recognize that this is a necessary thing. It is far better for those who have been traumatized to feel empowered enough to speak out about their trauma rather than let it fester inside of them every day. The rest of us need to know about these things as well. And the guilty parties need to be held to account. Whoever they are, no matter what their politics.

NOTE: If you’re looking to keep up with the ever-growing number of accusations out there, Quinn’s twitter is a good place to start.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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46 replies on “Gamergaters never believed anything Zoe Quinn said — until Quinn signal-boosted accusations of abuse against a male feminist ex [UPDATED]”

You used the wrong pronoun for Quinn in the title and at least once in the article. I know this wasn’t deliberate, but can you fix it?

“Why women dont come forward?”

This is awful. I stand with all women including Quinn. Thanks to Tarana Burke who created the Me too movement. Johnny depp, Donald Trump, R Kelly, Arnold schwarzeneger, xxxtentixon, Niel degrasse, Colin mochrie, Mike Tyson, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Brown, joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, 6ix9ine, Harvey winston, woody Allen, tarintino, polanski, my mom’s and mine abusers and attackers all deserve to be locked up.

Also I want to share this petition I know it hasn’t got to do with the article above but I want to share it. This brave woman suffered threats please sign and share this petition to ban pewdiepie.

With you on the banning PewDiePie. In addition to his fascism, he’s also toxic masculinity incarnate and yet his fans think he’s funny. He needs to be banned, though it’s possible he would just bring his following over to BitChute, which is where all the Nazis are heading now.

I know he would just create another channel/account on another site, I still appreciate what this woman did and all the people signed.

People are getting banned/flagged left and right but not people like him including the Paul brothers, James charles and Jeffrey star. Social media is broken and white men really do get away with pretty much everything well except Asian Andy and Louis Farrakhan.

“It’s inconvenient for the Narrative that an (alleged) anti harassment organisation was cofounded by a creeper, huh?”

Actually, no. As anti-harassment/abuse/rape advocates point out over and over and over again, predators don’t wear signs. They don’t all look like the trench coat wearing weirdo lurking in a dark alley. They can be anyone and they often cultivate a respectful image (whether that’s of a religious family man or a feminist ally or whatever else) in order to hide what they are and in order to put themselves in a position to access victims and cover up their abuse.

If any of these people actually listened to what we say, instead of believing in the strawSJW fed to them by the chans and Reddit and Gab, they would no that this in no way contradicts what feminists say about abuse.


Yeah, I noticed that too. I wish there were gender-neutral pronouns in my first language too. I saw one instance of “Kotaki in Action” that David may want to correct. I really don’t mean to be a jerk about this, though. This was a great post, as always.

What is your first language? Maybe there are proposed new pronouns or you could create some.
In English, there have been a few proposed new gender neutral pronouns like zie, but I prefer to use they/them as it’s already established in the lexicon and has historical precedent as a third person singular gender neutral pronoun. Of course, despite the historical usage, it seems a lot of older people protest the use of they/them pronouns for individuals and claim that it’s ungrammatical. I would imagine, however, that this has little to do with grammar and has much more to do with promoting non-binary erasure and cisnormativity.

+1 on the pronoun thing

Otherwise, the bullshit here is just so depressing. I know that there must be straight men in gaming who don’t have this kind of stuff in their history, at least statistically, but the reality of what’s going on here is just appalling.


My first language is Portuguese, since I am Brazilian. I once met a teacher who is in favor of new pronouns, but I never learned what these pronouns are. So in Portuguese we have ele/ela as 3rd person singular (no equivalent of “it”) and eles/elas as 3rd person plural (also no gender-neutral variant). I don’t know personally any NB person who prefers a different set of pronouns, so I may have to look this up. I only know a genderfluid person who uses both ele/eles and ela/elas depending on the situation.

Anyway, I will check if there are new pronouns, and in case there aren’t, I propose el (3rd person singular) and els (3rd person plural). But my proposal may even be unnecessary.


Thanks a lot for introducing me to the nonbinary wiki! That may come in handy. Romance languages (those that evolved from Latin) are notoriously sexist for prioritizing male pronouns when there is any ambiguity. I really hope these pronouns get used more often over here. Also, the same kind of person who considers singular they as ungrammatical will probably reject them, but that’s not going to stop me from using inclusive language.

Wait, what did Colin Mocharie do (I assume the Who’s Line person)? I looked him up and didn’t find anything

Saint somnia
I apologize I have been reading many websites about celebrities, etc I guess I confused him with another man who was abusive towards his wife.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Sorry to be a pedant* but nouns in romance languages aren’t “male” and “female;” they are “masculine” and “feminine.” I don’t speak Portuguese but it is the nearest neighbor to French, which I do speak. Sexism is written into the language in many ways and I find many of them irritating. I am heartened that people seem to be making an effort in this regard. But the gender of common nouns is arbitrary and has no relation to sex. My uterus is masculine. A man’s member can be named with a feminine noun (lots of words for penises in French). When it comes to designating people it occurs much more often that women will be named with masculine nouns than the reverse, but both occur.

I am just saying that the concept of misgendering has to be thought through differently in a language in which I can say “Johnny Depp est une star de cinéma exquise.” JD is an exquisite (feminine adj) movie star (feminine noun). And where in some (admittedly rare) cases the singular “elle” (she) will be used to designate a man. Is it sexist that the masculine plural version of “they” is used for groups composed of both men and women? Yup. But it is also used for groups composed of shoes and stockings, which makes me feel a little less uncomfortable with the other example.

I am absolutely for finding ways to push against the sexism inherent in our languages. But languages with gendered common nouns have a different relationship to gender that seems to complicate (but in some ways may simplify) things for people seeking ways to be more inclusive.

*only a little bit sorry 😉

I know some French but am not fluent, and I tend to think of it more like homme is le-gendered and femme is la-gendered. I wouldn’t be surprised if some actual French people considered that blasphème.

Honestly I wish English would dump the gendering of third-person pronouns, and instead include a fourth-person pronoun, by which I mean a referent to someone else who isn’t me or you or the contextually-established third-person. That would do wonders for both gender equality and conversational clarity. Oh, and while I’m wishing for the impossible, a plural form of “it” while we’re at it. “These/those” isn’t always ideal.

Omegalul, I’m with you, Hebrew is similarly gendered – in fact, it’s a bit worse, since in Semitic languages the gendering applies to verbs, as well (“he thought” is a different form of the verb than “she thought”, etc.). In our case, creating non-gendered forms would need to extend to a large chunk of the language, so while there’ve been some ideas, so far they’ve failed to take off.

Some NB people do go the “they” route, even though it is in effect still gendered (there’s a masculine “they” and a feminine “they”, as well as feminine/masculine “you”, it’s just that in past and future tenses the default masculine plural form can apply to feminine as well); I think most of them prefer to use mixed pronouns instead – so, for example, you’d tell your NB friend “Hi, it’s so great to see you (f)! You look (m) great!” and so on. It really depends on the person.

Oh, please be true. The “arch male ally” a fucking creeper, oh be still my beating a heart.

There’s a weird assumption here that self-proclaimed allies not really being allies isn’t something actually expected of self-proclaimed allies…


instead include a fourth-person pronoun, by which I mean a referent to someone else who isn’t me or you or the contextually-established third-person.

What exactly would the fourth person pronoun be? Since English doesn’t have a fourth person perspective, I’m not sure how it would be implemented or used, but I would be open to learning more.

@Penny Psmith

Some NB people do go the “they” route, even though it is in effect still gendered (there’s a masculine “they” and a feminine “they”, as well as feminine/masculine “you”, it’s just that in past and future tenses the default masculine plural form can apply to feminine as well); I think most of them prefer to use mixed pronouns instead – so, for example, you’d tell your NB friend “Hi, it’s so great to see you (f)! You look (m) great!” and so on. It really depends on the person.

I speak some Hebrew and was aware of the gendering of verbs, but I was unaware of modern non-binary individuals using masculine plural forms. To me, it is interesting that Hebrew is so gendered seeing as Jewish law actually specifies the existence of 6 genders, of which 2 are neither male nor female.

@ naglfar

Jewish law actually specifies the existence of 6 genders

Ooh, I like a bit of interesting jurisprudence. So, if you have the time, I’d love to hear more on that.

From what I’ve seen and experienced of Jewish law, the six genders thing has been left by the wayside a long time ago. It is definitely not used by any mainstream orthodox rabbis.
At any rate, of course, Hebrew as a language is older than those bits of Jewish law, and Semitic languages are as far as I know strictly two-gendered.

As for the plural masculine forms – like I said, in modern Hebrew (actually, from around Talmudic times or thereabout) they’ve come to be used for both feminine and masculine – some people might still insist on using the feminine plural suffix for verbs (sidenote: in past/future/imperative, since present tense is actualy a participle and thus works by different rules), but it’s seen as old-fashioned and a bit weird. At any rate, this makes it a tiny little bit easier to make some things, like instructions and such, gender-neutral, although in other ways it’s still a struggle.
The few NB people I know either use a single preferred gendered pronoun, or the mixed speech; I don’t personally know any NBs who use a Hebrew “they”, so don’t know how those who do manage the still-gendered parts of doing so.
It’s all very very complicated.

Also, having looked at the provided links – the four extra genders are still spoken of in gendered language. They are all referred to in the masculine except for Aylonit which is referred to in the feminine. So even if we see those as distinct genders in the sexual/gender-identity sense (as opposed to the mainstream orthodox view of treating them more or less as defects and aberrations), in the language sense they still end up needing to conform to the masculine/feminine binary.

It’s great that there’s a halakhic basis for recognising different forms of being NB or intersex, don’t get me wrong! I’m sure this can be really useful for religious people who are somewhere on that gender spectrum, for example (and really, it’s just always good to see examples of things being more complex). But it still doesn’t get us closer to solving the linguistic issue.

@Penny Psmith

But it still doesn’t get us closer to solving the linguistic issue.

I know, I just though it was an interesting thing to note in relation to the discussion of Hebrew gender.

@ naglfar & penny

Thank you for those links. Some evening read for me when I get time!


I know, I just though it was an interesting thing to note in relation to the discussion of Hebrew gender.

It is!

Jesus, I hope Zoe is okay. The frog army is calling for her head over this suicide despite her repeatedly saying she wanted healing for Alec. The whole thing is awful and my heart goes out to his victims and his family right now.

@Naglfar: Here’s one of the more common uses. Imagine the following sentence: “Then she went over to her place.” The main subject of the conversation has been Samantha, but there has also been occasional references to a different, unnamed “her” who is a friend of Samantha. It’s not clear whether the speaker meant Samantha went to her friend’s place or vice versa; and depending on the context, it might not even be clear whether one of them went to their own place instead. If instead the sentence had been “Then shay went over to her place” assuming “shay” was a fourth person pronoun, then it would nearly always be clear that Samantha’s friend went over to Samantha’s place, because Samantha is the main subject of the conversation and her friend isn’t.

Now one can argue that the speaker should have phrased that more clearly. Assuming they’re speaking present-day English, they should have, but when people don’t take the time to consciously think out their words (which they can’t really do in a casual conversation, at least not without long pauses) then people are often sloppy like that, and may even assume the other person is on the same wavelength when they actually aren’t.

The speaker should also have interrupted and asked for clarity, except that’s kind of rude under most circumstances, and most people are too busy listening and unconsciously forming a quick guess as to what was meant. If information which establishes the context follows immediately, then one’s subconscious can easily correct it if one guessed it wrong, but otherwise it may end up causing confusion which brings the conversation to a halt in order to clarify just what went on.

A fourth person pronoun isn’t necessary by any means, but it would do a lot to add simple clarity in places where people are prone to making things simple but not clear. And if they replaced the gendering of third person singular pronouns, it wouldn’t even take up any more head space than languages which already use gendered pronouns, it’s just a different way of assigning pronouns. Though for maximum clarity one might want to have separate singular and plural forms, which would add a little bit of linguistic complexity to languages which only have a non-gendered third person plural (like English).

This would also address the argument that some people have against de-gendering third person pronouns: You can get the same kind of simple clarity if one person is a “him” and one is a “her”. Having only one third person singular pronoun increases the opportunity for confusion. Fourth person doesn’t just decrease the confusion caused by multiple conversational referents, it eliminates the problem almost entirely.

(Of course this is pretty unrealistic, but one can dream.)

Five dead, last I heard, and over 20 people wounded.

My thoughts about my governor and his masters would violate the comments policy.

I dread telling Mr. Parasol when he wakes up. This is going to hurt him deeply.


Imagine the following sentence: “Then she went over to her place.” The main subject of the conversation has been Samantha, but there has also been occasional references to a different, unnamed “her” who is a friend of Samantha.

Interesting. I haven’t actually ever heard the term “fourth person” before, but in Finnish you could refer to the secondary subject person as “this” instead of the usual non-gendered third person pronoun. I think it’s mainly done in formal written language; otherwise you’d feel more free to just repeat the people’s names for clarity.

…Sigh. “The listener should have interrupted” not the speaker. Too bad there’s probably no good solution to the problem of accidentally using the wrong word.

@CatMara: I noticed that, too. Probably for the best for her because now she has to endure the hate mob again.

Naturally, all the Gamergaters suddenly have a problem with online harassment, despite them doing much worse to Quinn all those years. No more “it’s just free speech, snowflake”.

So, if I just let people know that I have suicidal thoughts, I get to do shitty things with impunity? Cool!

@Cat Mara
They did say they were taking a break from social media, but deleting an account seems rather drastic. I hope Zoë didn’t commit suicide.


The frog army is now implicitly arguing that women should not tell people about their abuse.

They (and the right wing as a whole) have been arguing that for years. It’s not really new.

Eileen Holowka’s twitter account is now locked. Apparently she was being hounded by the mob because of her supportive words for Zoe Quinn. It’s hard to imagine what she’s going through: she’s just lost her brother, and now she’s being driven off twitter by harrassment. Just in case you thought these guys were motivated by compassion…

I just read one of the accounts, that of Nathalie Lawhead (content warning, though it probably goes without saying) and it’s harrowing, beyond disgraceful the way she was treated. Not just sexual assault but ongoing assaults on and undermining of her professionalism and skills, a constant alternation between wheedling (“you are the game! You can’t leave now!”) and threats (“actually, your work isn’t all that, we’re not going to pay you for your work”) Straightforward textbook abuser behaviour.

I am a software developer, a contractor; I remember a conversation I had with a contract QA specialist many years ago where he said he had never been in a work situation more toxic and unpleasant than a stint he did in a games company. Like most devs, I’ve had my run-ins with QA and it’s a struggle to remain objective when one’s first reflex is to push back and get defensive– that’s not a bug! Well, it wasn’t very clear in the spec! A bug?! How dare you, sir, impugn the transcendent perfection of MY PRECIOUS CODE (turns into Gollum and scampers hissing in the corner of the meeting room)! etc etc– but this guy said that game dev arrogance was beyond anything he’d ever experienced before, like, “fool! How dare you suggest my code is buggy! I know C++! You’re just a grunt!” That whole industry needs to be burned down and the earth salted.

@Victorious Parasol:
Re Your comments about Gov. Gaggit: yours and mine both. I’ve said it before but will repeat: words cannot convey how much I loathe that creature–though the Lt. Gov & Attorney General give him a good run for the money in my loathing department.

OT (though for some of us this is good news): just read in the Dallas Morning Snooze where there’s a movie about columnist Molly Ivins due out called Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins.

God, I miss her.

Sorry for the “off topic” but felt I had to share for those of us who loved Ivins’ talent and moxie for calling shit for what it was.

I might add, for anyone who doesn’t want to wade through the shit, the basic gist is that Anita tweeted a notice yesterday (before the suicide of Holowka) that there would be a suicide prevention center at PAX West for any suicidal attendees. Then, a few hours later, after it became known that Holowka had killed himself, she retweeted herself, adding “reminder” to the top. This garnered about as much backlash as you would expect, mostly people claiming that Zoë was to blame for the suicide and that Anita somehow shares responsibility, even though both tweets were clearly anti-suicide.
There’s also a new hashtag, #ZoeBodyCount, that seems to have started with Ethan Ralph. No wonder Zoë shut down their Twitter.

@Victorious Parasol:
Re seeing Molly Ivins live: oohh, color me officially jealous. I’d’ve given my eye teeth to see her live–that would’ve been the bomb.

In addition, basically any games dev who has supported any of the victims is getting bombarded by the frog army. It’s really upsetting. As a woman software engineer, it’s especially hard for me right now. And the male “allies” shrugging and asking what’s different today, gamergate never ended, just ignore them, etc. are not helping at all.

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